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Osprey Xenith 88

rated 4.5 of 5 stars
photo: Osprey Xenith 88 expedition pack (70l+)

This bag is a well designed expedition hiking backpack. It has a superb carrying comfort and excellent organization to make long expeditions possible.


  • Comfortable
  • Durable


  • Heavy
  • Sleeping bag compartment is useless


The Xenith 88 is Osprey's large, expedition worthy backpack. I have used this pack on a three-month expedition in the American Southwest, a 5-day backpacking trip in the Sierra Nevada mountain range, and an overnight where I was carrying gear for two people.

This pack is comfortable and feature rich, while also being durable enough to handle off-trail abuse. Although the price tag is pretty high, you really get what you pay for with this backpack. If you are looking for a pack to use for long, unsupported trips, than this is it.

Firstly, I want to note that the durability of this pack is superb. In all the time that I have used it, the only damage is that the decals on the top and front of the backpack have started to peel. Also, the blue is a little faded.

The bottom part of the pack is made of a burly nylon, which has resisted ripping, even after setting the pack down in thickets of acacia and dragging it across desert granite. The rest of the pack is made of a similar, but thinner material, which has also proved durable enough, while still staying lightweight.

All of the buckles are made of heavy duty plastic and I have yet to have a problem with them. The zippers are also high quality and while they occasionally snag (especially the front two), they have not broken.

The Xenith 88 has many useful features, and is organized very well. All the pockets and compartments were useful in keeping my gear organized for three months in the backcountry. The hipbelt pockets are easy to use and plenty large to handle granola bars, gps units etc. The stow-on-the -go trekking pole attachment takes a little getting used to, but it is handy for putting away poles to look at a map, drink, or take on more difficult terrain.

The external hydration sleeve is useful, and works well with the Osprey Hydraulics 3-liter bladder (not included). However, if the bladder is all the way full, it tends to bulge out the back panel, so I usually only fill it about 2/3. The mesh pockets on the side are very large and can be used to store a lot of items, primarily water bottles. They hold a Nalgene very snugly. I have not been able to put water bottles back without taking of the pack though, even when using the angled hole.

The stretch mesh front pocket is good for drying out laundry on the go, or storing a wind layer to have readily accessible. The two front pockets are the perfect size for the 1 liter fuel bottles that work with most liquid fuel stoves, and they will also accommodate narrower water bottles. Be careful because stuff in these pockets tends to get squished when you lay your pack down (especially if you like to use it as a seat like I do).

The top lid has two very big pockets and can hold a lot more than seems possible. It also detaches and serves as a waistpack. What I like best though is that the waistpack buckle is the same as the hipbelt buckle, so if your hipbelt buckle were to break, you have a backup built into the pack. I think that Osprey did a great job finding innovative ways to make the pack easier to use.

The suspension system on this pack is really great. Once you spend the time to get it adjusted to your body, it works like a dream and made carrying heavy loads (up to 70 lbs for me) possible. The hipbelt has a padding similar to memory foam, which is very thick and comfortable on the hips. The shoulder straps are made of the same padding, but are slightly thinner and narrower to save weight without sacrificing comfort.

The back is not very breathable, but it does the job. I really like the rubber lines on the bottom of the backpanel. They are easy to overlook, but they do a great job of preventing your shirt from riding up your back under your backpack, which happens with many other packs.

Since durability and versatility are very important to me, I gave this pack 4.5 stars. It is comfortable, well designed and built to last a lifetime of expedition hiking. It comes with a full set of useful features and is backed by Osprey's All Mighty Guarantee. Very nice job with this pack, Osprey.

If you are listening, I would like to see this pack made available in more color options. Also, I would like to see a waterproof valuables pocket built into the top lid. Another cool feature would be to line the inside of the bottom of the pack with a waterproof material, so that when it gets set down in snow or a puddle, sleeping bags don't get wet. Lastly, get rid of the sleeping bag compartment divider. It is a waste of weight.


Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $359

It is an expedition pack which I have used for 2-3 week length treks. It functions well. The hip pads are great and provide more load-bearing support than any other pack I have owned. In all, it is a durable pack and my go-to for long journeys.


  • Heavy duty hip straps
  • Great sleeping bag compartment
  • Abundant outside straps to hang gear off of...
  • Quick access and large capacity brain for rain gear, jacket, first aid.
  • Durable material


  • The durable material, if wet, weighs a ton
  • Mesh outer pockets snag and tear on branches
  • Pockets on hip pads can be tough to unzip while hiking

I have owned this pack for 4 years. I have used it on 5 major treks in Asia and USA. The pack is still going strong.

I am 6.0ft, 185 and it fits very well, no special adjustments were required and I did not have the hip pad molded. Carrying weight doesn't bother me, my pack usually weighs 45-50lbs...and that's why I chose this pack as it can accommodate all my gear. And I have a lot of gear. 

Exterior pockets and access to interior are all thought out well. The primary material used is durable and strong. However the mesh material Osprey has used is not durable as it snags, frays, and tears with minimal abrasion (though I do like the way the mesh stretches to carry larger bottles). I also like the brain, it detaches and will accommodate a lot of easily accessible gear: rain wear, first aid, binoculars.

Overall, I am satisfied with the pack. When I bought it, I was concerned about the price, but the pack's performance over the years has justified the cost. Nothing has ever broken that it might require a professional repair.


Dongbei region of China 2015



4 years of use. Prior to this pack, I owned a was OK.

Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $355

If you have a strong back, strong legs, high stamina, and need to carry a lot of loads, this pack is the right one for you.


  • Carries 12KG-22KG more comfortable
  • I liked the sleeping bag compartment, as the bottom loading, please don't remove it.
  • Highly robust
  • Quite water-resistant
  • Plenty of room for group gear
  • Convenient hip pockets, side pockets, shoulder pockets, and top lid pockets
  • I liked the idea of the removable top lid.
  • Great front mesh pocket, very multi-usable


  • Heavy (but it is designed for heavier loads)
  • Not fully water-resistant
  • Pricey, but reasonable

I bought this pack new from Outlive, a company of Eiger Adventure Group which is an official distributor of Osprey (and also all other overseas brands).

I thought I was crazy for carrying loads for the group, it totals 18KG. It was only a 2D1N trip. Within the first 4 hours hiking, I was feeling very miserable. Not because the pack, but because the load. I cannot carry this much of weight. The tension was pushing to my lumbar, and then to my hip, and then to my leg. It really does what the advertising says it is.

The pack really helped me stabilize the loads, makes carrying 18KG more comfortable than the Atmos AG.

I think if you hike for the group and the road is less than 8 hours walk with no inclination, you will be very grateful for having this. Unless you are a very strong human, you can carry 18-22KG of total loads, it shouldn't be a problem.

I'm quitting being the group porter, of being a too generous person for "let me bring your gears"—12KG is now my maximum total load.

I'm an ultralight hiker now. We can go to 6D5N trip with just 40L pack capacity, with base weight 4,5KG, with total weight 10KG. Ultralight saves my health haha.

Cheers mate, if you're a porter, go get this pack!


1 year owning.
2 hiking trips with large group.
4 travelling trips inside the city when moving apartments.
I'm very familiar with all the features of Osprey Xenith 88.

Source: bought it new
Price Paid: IDR 2500

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Medium Large XL
Price MSRP: $380.00
Historic Range: $179.93-$380.00
Reviewers Paid: $335.00-$359.00
Load Range 40-70 lbs
Weight 5.5 lbs 5.61 lbs 5.72
Volume 5,370 cu in / 88 L 5,614 cu in / 92 L 5,858 cu in / 96 L
Dimensions 34.25 x 16.14 x 17.32 in 36.22 x 16.14 x 17.32 in 38.19 x 16.14 x 17.32 in
Fabric Main - 420D High Tenacity Nylon / Accent - 210D High Tenacity Nylon / Bottom - 500D Nylon Packcloth
Product Details from Osprey »

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